Pretty much everybody knows that flu season is no joke. This is especially true for parents of little ones. There really isn't anything else quite heart-wrenching as the helpless feeling you get when your child is under the weather. That's why it's so important to keep an eye out for the flu symptoms in children that you can't ignore. As the mother of a preschool-aged child, I have firsthand experience with how quickly a bug can spread. Not only are viruses like the flu contagious, but the effects often hit hard and fast. One minute I had a bouncy, laughing ball of energy, and the next, I was setting up a makeshift fort for my lethargic, achy little dude.
So when is a flu symptom more serious than just a case of the chills or runny nose? One of the first an easiest signs to spot is a spike in your child's temperature. "If your baby is under 3 months old and has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, call the doctor immediately," according to Baby Center. Additionally, "if a baby is between 3 months and 6 months a fever of 101 degrees or higher, or is older than 6 months and has a temperature of 103 degrees or higher, you should call your child's pediatrician right away."
Aside from a serious fever, check out these other flu symptoms in children that mean it's time to go to the doctor.
1. Heat Rash And High Temperature
Since no two children are the same, it stands to reason that symptoms can vary from kid to kid. One variation on the typical fever, however, is a definite red flag. You can tell that your child's flu symptoms are serious when a fever presents itself with a rash, explained Kids Health, the official educational site for the nonprofit pediatric health system Nemours. Some children, the report further explained, are more prone than others to rashes and discoloration from heat. So, the two symptoms by themselves might not set off any alarms, but fever with a rash should definitely not be ignored.
2. Decreased Tears And Urine
Dehydration is unhealthy even for adults, but it can be a devastating experience for a small child with the flu. A recent statement released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that you should, "get medical help right away for any infant who has no tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than normal." Why is a lack of liquid such a red flag? "In the most serious cases, your toddler can become delirious or unconscious," according to Healthline. Basically, if your child's body is seriously lacking fluids, this can overheat their brain.
3. Head And Neck Pain
Typically, "my head hurts," is not a serious complaint in our household. But during flu season, parents need to pay attention to pain. "If your child has a severe headache with a stiff, painful back-of-the-neck and persistent vomiting, these could be symptoms of meningitis," explained the website for Dr. Sears. In case you're not too familiar with the term, "meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord," according to Kids Health. Since time is of the essence with cerebral inflammation, you definitely don't want to brush off this typical flu symptom.
4. Difficulty Breathing And Blueness
When is a cough more than just a cough? Signs your child's flu is turning into pneumonia are, "fast, labored breathing, bluish tint to the lips or nails, and pain in the chest, particularly with coughing or deep breathing," according to Healthy Children, an informational site from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Pneumonia takes a serious toll on the respiratory and circulatory systems. That's why bluish or grayish skin indicates that not enough oxygen is making it into their blood.
If you experience any of these symptoms, do not hesitate to seek medical attention, especially now, when the flu virus is especially rampant.
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